Trump's attorney general pick says president pardoning someone to protect himself ‘would be a crime’
William Barr and Sen. Pat Leahy

President Donald Trump's nominee to head the Justice Department testified that it would be a crime to exchange a pardon for a promise not to implicate him.


Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) asked William Barr, the attorney general nominee, whether the president could issue a pardon to a person who had agreed not to testify against him.

"Can a president offer a pardon in exchange for witness’s promise not to incriminate the president?" Leahy asked.

“No," Barr said, "that would be a crime.”

Trump has hinted that he would pardon former campaign chairman Paul Manafort or former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who each have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

"I remember this well because I was here in the senate the time you encouraged president George H.W. Bush to pardon all six individuals who were targeted in Iran-Contra," Leahy said. "An independent investigator labelled that a coverup."